SRSG: “District Officials Responsible for Obtaining and Spending National Budget Resources Properly

7 Jul 2008

SRSG: “District Officials Responsible for Obtaining and Spending National Budget Resources Properly

25 August 2006, DILI— The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Timor Leste, Sukehiro Hasegawa today visited the two western border districts of Cova Lima and Bobonaro where he listened to the challenges that lie ahead for local residents and solicited the views of national police officers (PNTL) and government officials on how the United Nations could help them improve their performance to maintain a secure and stable community.

SRSG Hasegawa was accompanied on the trip with members of the diplomatic corps including the Ambassadors from Brazil, Japan, Portugal, United Kingdom and the United States and a UN team including an United Nations Police Officer (UNPOL), chief of the military advisory team, advisor to the Minister of Interior and a member of the World Food Program, some of whom briefed the residents on their plans for assisting the people of Timor-Leste and helping communities return to normal.

SRSG Hasegawa said he would bring their suggestions and requests to the attention of the Prime Minister Ramos-Horta and President Xanana, the latter with whom he would meet later in the day.

In Maliana, Bobonaro's district capital, Secretary of State of Region IV Lino Torrezao accompanied by Deputy Administrator, Beatrice Ximenes, told the meeting that they would work together with the citizens to develop Bobonaro district.

While residents there said that they did not have a security problem on the scale that exists in the capital city of Dili, they said incidents have occurred that require the vigilance of community policing, adding that security is essential for businesses and life to function normally and productively.

A senior PNTL officer said they would need better communications equipment, computers and transportation, and a generator to help them carry out their work effectively and efficiently. He suggested reactivating the solar-run system to help them retrieve water from the well, another problem cited.

One resident said since April the rice distribution had been sparse. An officer from the World Food Program explained that UN agencies and humanitarian aid groups are now coordinating efforts with the Ministry of Labor and Community Reinsertion to provide food and supplies to people in the districts. He said a program for mothers and children has already begun in Bobonaro and in September the agency will start a school feeding program in the districts.

In Suai, the district capital of Cova Lima, where Acting District Administrator Francisco Mendosa da Costa co-chaired the meeting, government officials voiced similar needs including improved security, better transportation, more electricity and the need for improved communication systems including radio and television. Several of the speakers voiced their wish to resolve political issues at the district level, but believe that reconciliation must begin first with the national leaders.

SRSG Hasegawa told both district meetings "the UN would meet their security demands with an increased coverage of UN police officers that would be deployed over a period of a few months as the new mission begins." He said that eventually one-third of the force would be deployed at the district level. He said the UN police would have executive policing power mostly needed in Dili, but that the force would also work with the national police to help develop capacities in the area of community policing.

In response to the need for more materials, SRSG Hasegawa said "As head of the UN Office in Timor-Leste, I will through UN agencies try to generate resources to be contributed by donors, but it is important that you, as district government officials, have a responsibility to make sure funds allocated in the national budget are brought to the district and spent properly for the people "

For additional information, please contact:
Donna Cusumano, Chief, Public Information Office, UNOTIL; +670 723 0749